$5,000 for 3 Minutes: Deadline to Enter FastPitch Business Contest is Aug. 9

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Entrepreneurs, business owners and students are all invited to deliver a three-minute “pitch” about their business or business concept to a group of judges from the business and investment community. On the line: $5,000 for the individual who knocks his or her pitch out of the park in the 1st Annual Racine/Kenosha FastPitch Competition.

Kenosha Area Business Alliance (KABA) and the Racine County Economic Development Corporation (RCEDC) are coordinating and promoting the event.

Individuals must strive to make every second count: on Wednesday, Aug. 29, they have 180 of them to describe their business, or their idea for one. Even for those who do not walk away with the cash prize, there are many benefits: the setting offers competitors the chance to refine their business focus, enhance their presentation skills, network with fellow entrepreneurs and connect with potential investors or individuals who can accelerate the realization of their idea.

“We tell everyone, `Just because you didn’t win the cash prize doesn’t mean you didn’t win,” said Sherry Pritz, marketing coordinator of EIGERlab, which launched FastPitch six years ago in Illinois.

The Racine/Kenosha event will be at Gateway Technical College’s Integrated Manufacturing and Engineering Technology (iMET) Center, formerly known as the Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation (CATI) in Sturtevant, WI. Contestants, from high school seniors and college students to local entrepreneurs and business owners, will be assigned to different rooms in the IMET Center. Three-judge panels from the business and investment community will evaluate each presentation. After that first round, a smaller group will advance to the final round, which will be conducted in the auditorium starting at 5:30 p.m. It is open to the public starting at 5 p.m.

In addition to observing the pitches, attendees can review exhibits created by participants. EIGERlab launched the competition six years ago, with StateLine Angels, Rock Valley College and Northern Illinois University serving as key sponsors. They hosted the latest event at NIU on June 20. In addition, a FastPitch competition is slated for Aug. 8 at Blackhawk Technical College in Janesville. Competitors in those two prior events are eligible to enter the Racine/Kenosha event, although prior cash prize winners and student prize winners are not eligible to take the cash prize on Aug. 29.

Brian Rademacher, KABA’s Director of Economic Development, attended the FastPitch competition at NIU, which drew competitors from a six-county area.

“I was energized by a lot of the ideas coming out of there,” Rademacher said. “It was exciting to see the entrepreneurial enthusiasm and the energy. We hope to develop an event where entrepreneurs and the business, investment and educational community can network and celebrate an entrepreneurial culture especially in Racine/Kenosha.”

For the Racine/Kenosha competition: FastPitch participants must submit their business pitches to RCEDC in writing for pre-qualification by Thursday, August 9; participants that are chosen will be notified by Friday morning, August 10. Business pitches must be submitted in writing (1,000 words or less) to Kristin Niemiec at kniemiec@racinecountyedc.org.

FastPitch presentation training sessions are scheduled for Tuesday, August 14 and Wednesday, August 15 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Gateway’s Integrated Manufacturing and Engineering Technology (iMET) Center. RCEDC and KABA have arranged presentation training to assist applicants with fine-tuning their presentations; cost $15 for both training sessions. Going through the training is strongly suggested for participation in the competition. For full FastPitch contest details, flyer, and registration form or with questions contact Brian Rademacher of KABA at 262/605-1100 or Kristin Niemiec of RCEDC at 262/898-7404.

This event made possible by Gateway Technical College, Kenosha Area Business Alliance, Racine County Economic Development Corporation, and EIGERlab. The 1st annual event also is being made possible by our sponsors: BizStarts Milwaukee, Educators Credit Union, Gateway Technical College, Jenkins & Vojtisek, SC, Johnson Bank, Kenosha Area Chamber, Lakeview Technology Academy, Landmark Credit Union, Racine County Economic Development Corporation, Runzheimer, Talmer Bank and Trust, Twin Disc, US Bank, Warren Industries, Workforce Development Center, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation. This press release was prepared by Racine County Economic Development Corporation & KABA under award 06-79-05547 from the Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Development Administration or the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The Kenosha Area Business Alliance (KABA) is Kenosha County’s economic development organization and employers association. KABA provides a range of economic development and business services to its nearly 400 member investors and to prospective members as well. KABA manages a portfolio of economic development revolving loan funds that are used to provide low-interest loans to new and expanding businesses to support job creation. Additionally, KABA serves as a clearing house for site selection and economic information. KABA also delivers a number of training programs designed to upgrade the skills of area workers.

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